Comment and analysis on all things Charlotte

Death may come to that infamous round building

I did my masters at N.C. State and was subjected to several classes in Harrelson Hall, which was probably the most bizarre building I’ve ever set foot in. Harrelson is round, which means that the classrooms are pie-shaped. And that makes for a rather interesting learning experience, especially if you’re sitting near the wall. And yes, even the bathroon stalls were wedges. The all-fluorescent lighting was just brutal. I distinctly remember doing a face-plant going down the insanely steep stairs too.

Now comes word that N.C. State is looking at tearing down Harrelson, probably in the summer of 2016. Good. There are some important lessons here: not all that is suppose to be innovative actually works out in practice and not all old build buildings are worth saving.

Bonus thought: Note that even preservationists aren’t exactly rallying to save Harrelson. The Raleigh News & Observer has this quote from blogger John Morris, a N.C. State grad who often writes about the virtues of older buildings:

It is thought-provoking and unique, it definitely adds a lot of character to N.C. State, and especially to the Brickyard. But it just doesn’t do its job very well, and it’s really hard to argue in favor of preserving a structure that just completely and utterly fails on all fronts, other than the exterior appearance.

4 Responses to “Death may come to that infamous round building”

  • Apr
    23
    2014

    Maybe they can stack it on top of the Clarion (old Holiday Inn).

  • Apr
    24
    2014

    gosh gee, who’s going to wind up paying for all this?

  • Apr
    24
    2014

    One day I was leaving an English class on the third floor via the inner ramp, and my English professor remarked that it made him think of the descent into Dante’s Inferno.

  • Apr
    24
    2014

    Harrelson was originally meant to be much taller — only after it got close to its present height did they discover that the sheer weight of the building was compressing the underlying soil and rock and they had to cut it short. (This was told to me by one of my engineering professors at NCSU.) If they’d gone much taller, it was going to start to lean.

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